We started watched "The Journals of Knud Rasmussen" the other night, the second movie by Aboriginal director Zacharias Kunuk.
We both really liked his first film, "Atanarjuat the Fast Runner". "Atanarjuat" is the first feature film made in Inuktitut, the language spoken by the the Inuit people. It's based on an ancient Inuit legend, and is a gripping, compelling story. It's also a chance to visualize how early hunter-gatherers lived, what their daily lives might have been like. That was fascinating.
With that in mind, we expected to enjoy Kunuk's "The Journals of Knud Rasmussen". But no. To say we didn't enjoy this movie is being kind. We couldn't sit through it. It was just plain boring. You know I'm not a shoot-em-up, car-chase, armies-on-the-plains kind of movie watcher. But geez, something has to happen. Anything!
Because we didn't like this movie, I ended up watching "Futurama," and because I was watching "Futurama," I ended up seeing an ad... And this ad that drove me crazy.
I didn't write down the name of the "toy" being sold, but Googling, I found this: Rose Petal Cottage, part of the Dream Town collection by Hasbro.
It's a playhouse. In the ad, two happy, long-haired, white girls are opening and setting up the playhouse, which is filled with "accessories" - which, of course, are sold separately.
And what are these accessories?
A toy washing machine.
A toy kitchen sink.
A toy muffin-making set.
And of course, a toy nursery, complete with crib and baby.
To which I can only say: AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!
I can barely articulate my disgust. I am reduced to rhetorical questions.
Do you see how early the indoctrination begins?
Are these toys playhouses ever marketed to boys? Or are girls the only people who need to practice laundry, baking and child care? (Does anyone really need to practice doing laundry?)
Why is work marketed as play? Of all the infinite varieties of play these girls might want to try - all the building, creating, climbing, colouring, running, pretending, experimenting - why do they need to play at doing the fucking laundry??
I'm not suggesting that baking and child care are drudgery on the order of laundry (although for me they would be much worse!). Baking - real baking, of real food - can be fun for any child. All children can enjoy playing with dolls. But link baking, laundry and baby in a "dream house" marketed exclusively to girls, and you've created a very specific kind of monster.
Of course there's nothing wrong with "playing house," and when kids invent a "let's pretend" game on their own, it can be a fun exercise of their imaginations.
But that's not what Rose Petal Cottage is about. This is gender-role indoctrination and insatiable consumerism all wrapped up in one neat, expensive, made-in-China package.
And my final rhetorical question: What century is this?
On the toy's website, there's a link to watch the commercial.